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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

OSBI Cold Case Unit solves mystery of 33-year-old Lincoln County murder

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed first-degree murder charges in a 33-year-old cold case involving a brutal murder in Lincoln County.

Paul Aikman, 35, was stabbed to death at a rest stop on the Turner Turnpike in September 1985. At the time of the murder, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s (OSBI) agents collected cigarette butts from the crime scene, along with latent prints. A DNA profile was developed from one of the cigarette butts, however the case eventually went cold.

Last year, OSBI criminalists at the Forensic Science Center notified agents that during a search of CODIS, the national DNA database, a potential DNA hit was obtained and matched to 55-year-old Earl Wilson. Criminalists then matched the latent print impression taken from the crime scene to Wilson.

“Advances in DNA technology are allowing authorities to take another look at these difficult cases,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Just because cases go cold doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t be held responsible, even after three decades. I appreciate OSBI Director Ricky Adams, who has put a priority on these cases through the development of the Cold Case Unit.”

Wilson, 55, is currently incarcerated in Oklahoma Department of Corrections custody for unrelated crimes.

“For 35 years, Paul Aikman’s family has ached not knowing who was responsible for his murder,” said OSBI Director Ricky Adams. “35 years have passed, but we have not forgotten about Paul. Thanks to science and determined police work by OSBI agents and our Cold Case Unit, we are pleased to announce that the suspect in Paul’s murder has been identified. I would like to give thanks to Attorney General Hunter and his staff for taking this case, filing a murder charge and giving a voice to Paul and his family.”

Paul’s case was featured in the first deck of OSBI’s Cold Case playing cards. The first 5,000 decks were distributed to Oklahoma Department of Correction facilities in the fall of 2017. They are available for purchase by the inmates in the canteen. The goal is to generate leads from inmates who may either know something or have heard something about the cases featured on the cards.

This is the fourth cold case that has resulted in charges being filed since the OSBI Cold Case Unit began work in November of 2018. A brief synopsis of the other three cases are below:

CHARLES NIEMAN - Nieman and his wife were traveling through Boise City, Okla., on June 12, 2013 when they stopped at a convenience store. The couple was approached by a man who pointed a gun at Mr. Nieman demanding his wallet. The man shot Nieman and then fled on foot. The vehicle the shooter came from drove away at the same time. Mr. Nieman died as a result of the shooting. Zachary Wilson (29), Jeremy Scott (33) and Timothy Dees (29) were arrested and plead guilty in 2019.

DONALD HAWLEY - On April 17, 1995, Donald Hawley was found deceased on the bank of the Verdigris River north of Muskogee. He had been beaten and his hands were bound behind his back. The Medical Examiner determined Hawley’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. In November 2019, Wagoner County District Attorney Jack Thorp filed a charge of Murder in the First Degree against 58-year-old Kenneth Tyrone Brown.

MUSKOGEE SERIAL RAPE SUSPECT - Between January 1993 and October 1995, five women, ranging in age from 19 to 40, were sexually assaulted. DNA was collected at the time, but was never able to be matched to a suspect. In September 2019, District 15 District Attorney Orvil Loge requested assistance from the OSBI with identifying a suspect using tools available through the Bureau including forensic analysis and genealogy testing. DNA from Leroy Jamal Smith, 50, connected him to the sexual assaults and he was charged in June 2020.

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